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The Basics of Keno

The ancient game of Keno was developed in the orient and introduced to America by Chinese railroad workers in the 1800’s. It is currently played in almost every casino of size the world over. While having a huge 25% house edge it is still extremely popular as a $1.00 “ticket” has the potential for winning as much as $50,000.

The “ticket,” or “blank,” contains eighty numbers, printed consecutively in eight rows of ten each. The player marks, typically with an X, from one to fifteen numbers on the blank with a Keno crayon. He then turns it in to the Keno booth together with his bet and receives an authenticated duplicate. Should he win, the duplicate must be turned in before the start of the next game in order to collect.

Traditionally Keno numbers are printed on eighty individual ping-pong balls. These balls are then spun around in a wire cage, or blown into a large clear plastic sphere, much like as in Bingo. As each ball is selected, the winning number is electronically highlighted on the Keno boards throughout the casino. Currently, however, many casinos use computer chips to generate random numbers.

The house draws twenty numbers out of the field of eighty. Payouts are based on the amount of winning numbers “caught” by the player out of the twenty drawn. These are known as “straight” tickets. The tables included are based on wagering on a straight ticket.

There are other variations in Keno which involve marking groups of numbers and combinations, commonly known as way, combination, and king tickets. These more complex variations to the game will be covered in a subsequent issue of Gambling Times.

Typical Payoffs on a $1.00 Straight Ticket:
Mark 1#
1# Pays 3.00

Mark 2#s
2#s Pays 12.00

Mark 3#s
2#s Pays 1.00
3#s Pays 42.00

Mark 4#s
2#s Pays 1.00
3#s Pays 4.00
4#s Pays 112.00

Mark 5#s
3#s Pays 2.00
4#s Pays 20.00
5#s Pays 480.00

Mark 6#s
3#s Pays 1.00
4#s Pays 4.00
5#s Pays 88.00
6#s Pays 1,480.00

Mark 7#s
4#s Pays 2.00
5#s Pays 24.00
6#s Pays 360.00
7#s Pays 5,000.00

Mark 8#s
5#s Pays 9.00
6#s Pays 92.00
7#s Pays 1,480.00
8#s Pays 18,000.00

Mark 9#s
5#s Pays 4.00
6#s Pays 44.00
7#s Pays 300.00
8#s Pays 4,000.00
9#s Pays 20,000.00

Mark 10#s
5#s Pays 2.00
6#s Pays 20.00
7#s Pays 132.00
8#s Pays 960.00
9#s Pays 3,800.00
10#s Pays 25,000.00

Mark 11#s
5#s Pays 1.00
6#s Pays 8.00
7#s Pays 72.00
8#s Pays 360.00
9#s Pays 1,800.00
10#s Pays 12,000.00
11#s Pays 28,000.00

Mark 12#s
6#s Pays 5.00
7#s Pays 32.00
8#s Pays 240.00
9#s Pays 600.00
10#s Pays 1,480.00
11#s Pays 8,000.00
12#s Pays 36,000.00

Mark 13#s
6#s Pays 1.00
7#s Pays 16.00
8#s Pays 80.00
9#s Pays 720.00
10#s Pays 4,000.00
11#s Pays 8,000.00
12#s Pays 20,000.00
13#s Pays 40,000.00

Mark 14#s
6#s Pays 1.00
7#s Pays 10.00
8#s Pays 40.00
9#s Pays 300.00
10#s Pays 1,000.00
11#s Pays 3,200.00
12#s Pays 16,000.00
13#s Pays 24,000.00
14#s Pays 50,000.00

Mark 15#s
7#s Pays 8.00
8#s Pays 28.00
9#s Pays 132.00
10#s Pays 300.00
11#s Pays 2,600.00
12#s Pays 8,000.00
13#s Pays 20,000.00
14#s Pays 32,000.00
15#s Pays 50,000.00

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